A Memphis police officer shot and killed a man in a public library on Thursday after the man shot another officer, critically wounding him. The Memphis Police Department, which has been under intense scrutiny after the beating that led to the death of Tyre Nichols last month, said the man who was shot was pronounced dead at the scene. The officer was taken to a hospital in “extremely critical” condition, reports the New York Times. Keli McAlister, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which was called in to investigate the shooting, said police responded to a report of a man trespassing at a business near the library around noon. The same man got into a confrontation with someone else about 30 minutes later inside the library, McAlister said. When the police tried to talk to him, he pulled out a gun and shot an officer. A second police officer then fatally shot the man. McAlister said that both officers, as well as the man whom the police killed, Torence Jackson Jr., 28, of Indianapolis, were Black men. Brad Winchester, a regular at the library, said that when he arrived a little after noon, he noticed two police officers near a computer bank questioning a man he had never seen. “I’d made it around to the area where I read my books,” Winchester said. “I’d gotten two pages into the book and the shooting started.” He heard several shots and dragged a female patron behind a bookcase to hide her from the gunfire. When he looked up, he saw a police officer wounded on the ground, with another officer trying to help him.
District Attorney Steven Mulroy asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the shooting. Mulroy’s office is leading the prosecution of the five police officers who have been charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’s death. The library where Thursday’s shooting took place is in an upscale area surrounded by restaurants, bars and a Whole Foods grocery store. Rubbie King, a paralegal, said she went to the library on Thursday to get some work done after an ice storm knocked out the internet at her home. She had just entered a study room when she heard five gunshots. When she looked out, she saw that a police officer had pinned a man to the ground. “The police officer was standing with his foot on the guy’s back and said, ‘I told you, stop moving. If you move again, I’ma pop you again,’ ” King, 54, recalled after she returned home, still shaken by the experience. King said it had been a hard few weeks in the city, with Nichols’s death, the release of videos showing the beating and, now, a killing in a public library. “It’s so unfortunate that Memphis has gotten this much publicity, and not very positive publicity,” she said. “It’s really, really sad. At some point, we will recover, but there is definitely a lot of work to be done.”